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2003 North America Speedway History
Southern California

2003 Northern California  -  2003 East Coast


November 16
A major new event in American speedway takes place this Sunday as the Bruce Penhall/Billy Hamill United States Under 21 Invitational will be held at Wheel2Wheel Raceway in Victorville, California.   This will be the first Under 21 Championship of any kind to be held in the United States.   In addition to the Under 21 Invitational, there will be the California Youth Championship.

Former first division rider Donny Odom, owner of J.O. Racing, has spent significant time planning the event and, with the continued growth of the youth program, he is confident that it will become a fixture on the American speedway calendar in the future.  Odom hopes that the event may eventually be used to determine the representatives for the United States in the World Under 21 competition.  Currently, the riders are selected by the AMA. 

The Under 21 competitors aren't the only riders who will have something to race for.  The California Youth Championship will have divisions for the four-stroke and the two-stroke machines as well.  This event will add another important event to the youth calendar, which already includes the Youth National Championship and the Gumball Rally Championship.              

The rider lineup is headed by 2003 World Under 21 Finalist Ryan Fisher, who also finished second in this year's AMA National Championship Series.  Bryan Yarrow and Eric Carrillo, who both competed in the World Under 21 Qualifier in Poole, England in May, will also be competing as well as several of California's top young speedway racers.  The roster isn't exclusively made up of California riders.  Chris Strong and Brian Hollenbeck will be traveling from New York and Aaron Laird will make the trip from Colorado.

Fisher, the only rider in the field who competes regularly in Europe, enters the event with the most big-race experience.  Yarrow and Carrillo, both former National Youth Champions, will try to use their experience gained in the World Under 21 Qualifiers to their advantage.  Shaun Harmatiuk, Chris Kerr, Justin Boyle, J.T. Martynse, and Mark Carrillo all have competed in U.S. National Championships and that should prove beneficial in a meeting that has quickly developed importance among riders and fans. 

The California Youth Championship will feature many of California's speedway stars of tomorrow competing in three separate classes.  Many of the youth racers in the lineup have competed in the Youth National Championship including two-time champion T.J. Fowler and Gumball Rally Champion Ricky Wells.  The 80cc two-stroke class will include Odom's son, Tyler, and Conner Penhall, son of two-time World Champion Bruce Penhall.
In addition to the championship races, the meeting's namesakes have hinted at possibly challenging each other to a series of match races.  The possible battle between two of America's former World Champions has drummed up even more interest in the meeting.    

Despite a history of young riders succeeding in international speedway, the United States has never staged an Under 21 Championship.  That success has included World Under 21 Champions Ron Preston in 1979 and Shawn Moran in 1981. In 2003, Ryan Fisher qualified for the World Under 21 Final, becoming the first American to do so since Josh Larsen in 1993.

Admission to the event will be $7.00.  The gates will open at 10:30 AM and the racing will begin at 1:00 PM.  Wheel2Wheel Raceway is located at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, California.  Riders or fans seeking information regarding the event are encouraged to use the contact information listed below.   

J.O. Racing (Donny Odom)
dodom@murraycompany.com OR dodom@socal.rr.com
Phone: (310) 375-2996
Fax: (310) 375-3066
Steve & Trish Wells (714) 695-0048 kiwicovers@aol.com
Ryan Evans sideways31@aol.com

RIDER LINEUP Rider Hometown Age

Under 21 Championship

6 - Ryan Fisher Norco, CA 20
7 - Eric Carrillo Newark, CA 19
8 - Bryan Yarrow Vacaville, CA 19
12 - Greg Hooten Jr. Sacramento, CA 17
18 - Justin Boyle Long Beach, CA 17
25 - T.J. Fowler Palermo, CA 15
27 - Chris Kerr Auburn, CA 19
29 - Matt Browne Pleasant Hill, CA 20
36 - Tim Gomez Hesperia, CA 15
87 - Aaron Laird Brighton, CO 16
93 - J.T. Mabry Napa, CA 15
93e - Chris Strong Binghamton, NY 16
105 - Michael Hernandez Fountain Valley, CA 17
112 - Devin Defreece Fairfield, CA 20
115 - J.T. Martynse Penryn, CA 18
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk Garden Grove, CA 20
145 - Dario Galvin Corona, CA 15
169 - Mark Carrillo Newark, CA 17
171 - Brian Hollenbeck Owego, NY 17
201 - Neil Facchini Riverside, CA 18

250cc four-stroke

1 - T.J. Fowler Palermo, CA 15
19 - Dylan Stark Lake Forest, CA 11
27 - Krystal Cramer Lake Elsinore, CA 12
66 - Jason Ramirez Orange, CA
99 - Miles Calvin Fullerton, CA 15
142 - Ricky Wells Yorba Linda, CA 12
301 - Dale Facchini Riverside, CA 15

200cc four-stroke

5 - Ricky Valdez Riverside, CA 10
17 - Dusty Phares Pauma Valley, CA 9
223 - Tamara Krips Riverside, CA 14

80cc two-stroke

81 - Conner Penhall Corona, CA 12
142 - Ricky Wells Yorba Linda, CA 12
146 - Tyler Odom Redondo Beach, CA 10


(November 10)
We're happy to announce that Maely's Track will be open for practice effective Sunday, November 9, 2003. The track will be open from 9am to 5pm weekends. Admission to the track is $25 per rider. The track will be closed, however, November 23 for the Under 21 Championships Race at Victorville. The Winter League Series is still on. We will be racing as scheduled, Saturday, November 15 and Saturday, November 29. All riders must show proof of Medical Insurance to ride the track. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!! For questions regarding track practices and events, call Bryan Galvin at (909) 454-5410.

I'm pleased to announce that the Maely's Winter Series will be resuming on Saturday, November 15, 2003 starting at 12pm. John DeFries just received notice that the track will reopen, and we are all looking forward to getting back on Maely's track and continue racing. The cost will be $30 per rider, which will include an additional $5 per rider to cover the cost of an EMT. Any questions, or if you want to sign up to race, please e-mail me at Kiwicovers@aol.com or call John DeFries at home (909) 464-7848 or on his cell (909) 525-7268.
Thanks, Trish Wells


November 10
Dukie Ermolenko informed me that the practice track in Lake Elsinore is now open for practice. The track will be open from 9:00 am until dark Friday through Sunday. The track itself is very wide with a slight banking. The track is close to 1/4 mile, but a smaller track has been cut on the inside and should be ready for practice soon.
Ermolenko has been receiving encouraging comments regarding recent improvements to the track surface. To ride at Lake Elsinore, insurance is required to enter the facility. Most of the motocross tracks in Southern California require an IMSA membership. Cost is $20.00 per year. Lake Elsinore will be carrying their own insurance in place of the IMSA card. The track staff has been informing riders that they will honor the IMSA card for the remainder of the card period. There is also an on-site EMT at all times.
Ermolenko is also accepting students to attend his Speedway Academy and anyone who is interested can contact Dukie at the information provided above. Students can rent bikes and other equipment if necessary. The track will be open Friday through Sunday, but please call ahead of time for confirmation. One suggestion, bring your smallest rear sprockets because the track is BIG and FAST!!!!
The immediate plans are for the track to be for practice only, with the possibility of race meetings being held there in the near future. The track will be open to speedway riders of all divisions, including juniors; flat track riders; and quads. Dukie will also be running his Speedway Academy from the facility. Dukie is also hoping to have an on-site store that would carry parts as well as complete new and used bikes. The shop would also have bikes and/or equipment that could be rented for the day.
Dukie wanted to express that should he decide to hold race meetings in the future, his schedule wouldn't conflict with the race dates of any Southern California speedway track or association. Ermolenko wants to work with all promoters and build continuity among speedway promoters, which he feels would improve the state of speedway in Southern California.


Updated October 9
Sad news to report today. Ken Maely, a man who has touched the lives of many racers from many types of motorcycle racing, passed away today. This is a tremendous loss to the racing family and will leave a tremendous void in the life of anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Updated October 13
The following was posted on cyclenews.com:
According to Ken Maely's son, Mike, there will be a bench racing session and memorial celebration for the late hot shoe builder and motorcycle racing icon, who passed away last Thursday.
The event is scheduled to take place at Bassani Manufacturing, 2900 E. La Jolla, in Anaheim, California, 92806, on Saturday, October 25, from noon to 6.p.m. There will be refreshments and food available, but the event is BYOB.
Attendees are requested to please RSVP to Mike Maely via the following e-mail address: maelyinc@aol.com.


October 11, 2003 - Costa Mesa, CA

2 - Josh Larsen Monrovia
2n - Alan "Crazy" Christian Reno, NV
3 - "Gorgeous" Gary Hicks Hesperia
6 - Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell Tustin
8n - Bryan Yarrow Vacaville
9 - "Flyin" Mike Faria Reno, NV
10 - Scott Brant Riverside
11 - Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz Costa Mesa
12 - Randy "The Rocket" DiFrancesco Bakersfield
14 - "Fast" Eddie Castro Ojai
15 - Charles "Dukie" Ermolenko Cypress
16e - Jeremy Parsons Johnson City, NY
24 - Bobby Krips Riverside
31 - Kelly Moran Huntington Beach
40n - Tommy Hedden Auburn
56 - Jim Estes Carson City, NV
94 - John Cook North Highlands
130 - Chris Manchester Reno, NV
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk Garden Grove
166 - Andy "The Enforcer" Northrup Alta Loma
18 - Justin Boyle Long Beach
89 - Danny Perkins Rancho Santa Margarita


September 12, 2003
Ryan Fisher will make his first World Championship appearance tomorrow when he lines up for the World Under 21 Championship in Kumla, Sweden. Fisher has attempted to qualify the past two years, but bad luck has prevented him from making the Final prior to this year. Fisher is the first American to qualify for the Final since Josh Larsen finished fifth in 1993. Only two Americans have won the Under 21 Championship in the past, Ron Preston in 1979 and Shawn Moran in 1981.


August 26, 200
Youth speedway received some valuable press coverage with a cover story in the September/October 2003 issue of Moto Kids Magazine. Conner Penhall, son of two-time World Champion Bruce Penhall, is the cover picture. The article provides a lot of information about the youth speedway program, the equipment and where you can buy it, and where you can practice and race. The article provides the web addresses for the tracks and for the distributors. The son of Cycle News editor Paul Carruthers also took a few laps on one of the youth bikes. This is excellent media exposure for the youth program and speedway in general. For more information about Moto Kids Magazine click this link: http://www.moto-kids.com


August 17, 2003
Speedway racing will be in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday, September 2003. The event will be at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and is part of the Great American Motorcycle Experience (GAME).
Although GAME is promoting the event, International Speedway Inc. has been contracted to help produce the show. Riders have until September 2 submit their entry forms, but many of the top riders have stated that they will compete for the $5250 purse.
This event should give speedway a lot of exposure to new fans. Las Vegas has been one of the locations that has been mentioned as a potential Grand Prix site should the United States be granted one by Benfield International. The track will be inside the 1/2-mile dirt oval and measure approximately 250 yards.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is located north of Downtown Las Vegas. You can get there by taking Interstate 15 to the Speedway Blvd. exit. The racing will begin at 7:30.


July 3, 2003
Current Southern California First Division rider Shawn McConnell and former World Finalist Rick Miller performed stunts in the movie Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which is debuting in theaters this week. The two perform several different types of stunts throughout the movie which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger. Their faces are concealed in all of their scenes, but they were involved in several of the more spectacular and elaborate scenes. One prominent scene involves the character John Conner being chased by a wide variety of different vehicles. The scene culminates with many vehicles crashing and a lot of explosions. Would you expect anything else from the Terminator trilogy? Maybe there can be a speedway scene if there is ever a Terminator 4.


June 19, 2003
Ryan Fisher will be competing in the Grand Prix Semi-Final Qualifier this Sunday at Rybnik, Poland. Fisher needs be among the top eight point scorers to move on to the Grand Prix Qualifier Final. He qualified for the semis after finishing third in the quarterfinal round. Fellow American Billy Janniro, who was second in the same quarterfinal round, will be in Terenzano, Italy on Saturday competing in his semi-final round.


June 9, 2003
Ryan Fisher finished eighth in the World Under 21 Semifinal in Abensberg, Germany to barely qualify for the World Under 21 Final. Fisher struggled early, only scoring three points after the first three rounds. He was able to score four points in the final two rounds to bring his total to seven and force a three-rider runoff to determine the final two qualifiers for the Final. Fisher finished second in the runoff to book his place in the Final. This was the third consecutive year that Fisher had made it to the penultimate round. He didn't qualify for the Final in 2001 and was unable to compete in last year's semi after suffering an injury. The World Under 21 Final will be held at Kumla, Sweden on September 13.


May 25, 2003
Bryan Yarrow scored five points and finished 10th overall and Eric Carrillo and Kyle Legault scored three points each to tie for 13th place. Unfortunately, this means that none of the three North Americans competing today will move on to the Under 21 Semi Finals. However, the experience gained was very valuable for all the riders involved especially Yarrow who had never ridden a track bigger than about 220 yards. He should come away happy with the experience and it will benefit him in the future.

The following is a press release from International Speedway Inc.


May 14, 2003
International Speedway, Inc. is proud to announce the addition of a second racing venue and 13 Friday night dates to our 2003 event schedule. These Friday night events will take place at the National Orange Show Events Center, in San Bernardino, CA.
The new Orange Show Speedway will kick-off with a special Fair event May 23, 2003 at 8:00 pm. Also scheduled is a Practice/Industry Day, Sunday, May 18th from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. and a Practice/Press Day, Tuesday, June 3rd from 11:30 am to 3:00 p.m.
Witness the color, speed and excitement of fuel burning, brakeless Speedway Motorcycles from the comfort of Grandstand seating as they spin, slide and speed towards the checked flag. Speedway hard-cores race elbow to elbow, completely sideways, to the ragged edge and way, way beyond! Over 30 breathtaking races crammed into 2 action packed hours of motorized mayhem!
The full 2003 schedule is enclosed and features 13 dates. Speedway fans will recognize many of the same promotions which have made Costa Mesa Speedway so popular. Kids Night, Harley Night, Skirt Night, FMX and even a Motorcycle Demo Derby supplement the weekly program of Professional Speedway Motorcycle Racing and Sidecars. Expect the same level of excitement and professionalism at Orange Show Speedway that International Speedway, Inc. events are famous for.
The Speedway track is located within the "Big Stadium" at the NOS Event Center. The race track is planned to be about 40' longer than Costa Mesa and 50' wider, close to the Ascot Speedway track in size and shape. You won’t be disappointed with this excellent facility and race track!
Adult admission for all events is just $10.00, Juniors (13-17) and Seniors (60 plus) is $6.00, Children (6-12) $3.00, 5 and under and Programs are FREE. Gates open at 6:30, pre-qualifying heats will start at 7:30 and the show will begin with the National Anthem at 8:00 p.m. The Pit gate will be open from 5:30 to 7:00.
Great tickets are available at the gate. Friday night, May 23rd, buy a Speedway ticket and get admission to the National Orange Show Festival, FREE. Check out our schedule for season-long excitement, it’s all yours for just 10 bucks!
Race down to the hassle free Orange Show Speedway to join KCAL for the best event bargain ever. The all new Orange Show Speedway Motorcycles Friday Nights thru September.
For more information, directions and track facts check out our web site at www.costamesaspeedway.net or call our offices at (949) 492-9933, we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.


May 3, 2003
Billy Janniro and Ryan Fisher finished second and third, respectively, in the first GP Qualifying Round in Lonigo, Italy to qualify for the GP Semi-Final Qualifying Round in June. The meeting was won by their Coventry Bees teammate, Lee Richardson.
Fisher followed his success in Lonigo by finishing fourth in the World Under-21 Quarter-Final in Terenzazo, Italy. Following an exclusion in his first race, Fisher scored 11 points in his final four races to claim a spot in the Under-21 Semi-Final. Fisher has qualified for the Under-21 Semi-Final three consecutive years. He failed to qualify for the Final in 2001, and was unable to compete in last year's Semi-Final after an injury forced him to withdraw from the meeting.


Updated March 31, 2003
Josh Larsen has officially signed with the Belle Vue Aces of the British Elite League. Due to work and family commitments Larsen will ride for the Aces in April as a trial. He scored nine points, including a heat win over Grand Prix competitor Niklas Klingberg, in his first meeting.
Larsen is excited about returning to Europe and is hoping to get one of the American slots in the World Championship Qualifiers. He has had success in the World Championship rounds in the past as he competed in the 1994 World Final in Vojens, Denmark. He actually qualified despite not competing in Europe throughout the season.
Larsen will be returning to the British scene after last competing in 1999 for the Eastbourne Eagles. His previous stints were with Arena Essex, London (after Arena moved there), and Bradford.
Joining Larsen on the team will be two-time National Champion Chris Manchester, who will be returning to the club he last competed for in 1999. Manchester is tentatively competing on the Aces' British League Cup squad, but is hoping to find a permanent place in the team. Manchester has had international success as well, having won the 1996 Overseas Final, only to later have his qualification into the next round revoked over the controversial solid-block tire ordeal.
Manchester is also excited about returning to Europe and is determined to make his return successful. His first meeting will be April 3.


February 15, 2003
After two successful seasons at the Orange Show Fairgrounds, there will not be speedway at the facility in 2003. Arrowhead Motor Speedway Promoter Charlie Venegas is very disappointed to make the announcement. Venegas stated that the fair board increased the lease to amount that wasn't financially feasible to maintain a weekly speedway show at the fairgrounds. Venegas had a tentative schedule in place for 2003, including an AMA National Championship round, and felt that the negotiations for a new lease would be reasonable. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Venegas was also informed that the fair board had sought out other promoters in Southern California to possibly promote speedway at the site. Apparently, those promoters also felt the lease was unreasonable and negotiations never got off the ground. Venegas feels that the fair board negotiated with him in bad faith by never directly informing him that they were seeking the possibility of other promoters. That, coupled with the notion that the fair board was entertaining the idea of promoting speedway themselves, forced Venegas to threaten legal action. Although Venegas doesn't feel that the Orange Show could successfully promote speedway themselves, due to a lack of knowledge of the sport, he felt he needed to protect his investment.
All of the news coming out of San Bernardino isn't bad, however, as Venegas already has one iron in the fire with regard to a new location. Venegas has been negotiating with the city of San Bernardino about a possible location that is approximately one mile from the Orange Show. Venegas also stated that the city actually called him when informed about the Orange Show. Venegas has been working closely with the city council and with the mayor about the new venue.
Venegas was upbeat when during the conversation and is confident that a deal can be in place before the beginning of the 2003 season, which was tentatively set for Wednesday, May 7. He said that the new facility will be much bigger than the Orange Show facility and also much better. The size and shape of the track may change as well with Venegas considering making the track longer and wider. With a new facility may also come a new race night. Venegas feels that a switch to Friday night would benefit fans, riders, and himself.
He feels that Friday is better because most fans and riders will not have to work the next day and he's hoping to attract more riders from the Bakersfield area on a more consistent basis. He realized that one repercussion of a switch to Friday night would be fewer visits from Northern California riders who seemed to flock to his track even though it was over 400 miles away. With Friday night being the same as Auburn's race night visits from Northern-based riders would diminish.
Venegas promises to keep the speedway community informed as things transpire regarding a new facility. He is tireless in his effort to continue to have speedway in the Inland Empire in the years to come.
Venegas promoted four races inside the Orange Show stock car stadium in 2000 and then two full seasons at his own facility adjacent to the stadium. He promoted over 40 events in that span of time including the highly successful AMA National Championship round in 2002. In addition to the Southern California-based riders, Arrowhead attracted over two dozen Northern California riders, a rider from Colorado, appearances from European-based Americans, and several visits from foreign riders.


Former World Champion and current Coventry Bees team captain> Billy Hamill will host a two-day event for Youth Speedway riders. The event will be held at the popular Maely Ranch in Corona,CA. The two-day event will consist of the following:
2/22/03 - Instructional lessons from Hamill
2/23/03 - Gumball Rally Race
The event will start at 8:00a.m. Saturday morning with a barbecue planned for the late afternoon. The fee for this event is $150.00 per rider. Prizes and trophies will be awarded. All Speedway riders must attend both days. PW50 riders are welcome on Sunday.
Event sponsors include: Ken Maely, Jawa - Cody Products, Racer's Pub, Mother's Polishes and Troy Lee Designs.
For more information or to reserve a spot contact Steve Wells 714-695-0048 or e-mail at PACAUTOIMP@aol.com


The Gumball Rally brings Billy Hamill full circle in his career. The first race that Billy ever entered as a junior was the Gumball Rally at Maely's Ranch in 1983. The trophy that day was an authentic Gumball machine filled with gumballs. Billy has stated that he really wanted to win that trophy and was disappointed that he didn't. The 2003 Gumball Rally, just like the original meeting 20 years ago, will have Gumball machines for trophies.
The Gumball Rally was staged in 1983 and 1984 with Bobby Cody, son of Jawa distributor Bill Cody, emerging as the victor each time. Other riders participating in the Gumball Rally included 1997 World Champion Greg Hancock; 1994 World Finalist Josh Larsen; NJK Leathers owner Kelcey Gordon; and future First Division riders Jessie Finch, Trinon Cirello, Jason Chism, Randy Evans, and Ryan Evans.

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